Nonimmigrant Visas for E-1 / E-2 Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors
Individuals classified as an E-1 / E-2 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor are eligible to temporarily stay in the United States to engage in trade or invest in a U.S. business. Learn more here.
E Visas: E-1 / E-2 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor
E-1 and E-2 are intended for citizens of countries with treaties of navigation and commerce with the United States.
To qualify for a treaty investor visa, visa applicants need to be coming to the U.S. to conduct or engage in substantial trading activities.
These usually include trading in technology or service in qualifying activities between the U.S. and another country or to direct and develop the operation of a treaty enterprise in which the visa applicant has made a substantial capital investment.
The E visa usually has a maximum initial stay, and holders of an E visa need to show that they intend to leave the U.S. once their E status is terminated or expires.
If you are looking for a visa lawyer, contact the law offices of Michael G. Murray P.A., and we may be able to help you with your E visas. We have helped countless clients looking for trade and investment visas, and we usually get favorable outcomes for our clients.
Qualifications for E-1 / E-2 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor
E-2 visas and E-1 visas are usually made available to citizens of countries with a Navigation, Free Trade Agreement, Commerce, Bilateral Investment Treaty, or a Treaty of Friendship with the United States.
How to Apply for E-1 / E-2 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor Visa
To apply for a treaty trader visa, there are several steps an applicant needs to follow. These steps also need to be followed by persons who apply as dependents.
Step 1: Complete the DS-160 application online
Step 2: Create your profile on the online applicant system and select your preferred passport delivery method. Logged into the portal select schedule appointment or new application, U.S., and if you are applying with your family, add their records on your profile.
Step 3: Pay the application fee through one of the options available, and after activating the receipt, go back to your profile to continue the application.
Step 4: Gather the appropriate documents required, including the documents for either the treaty trader visa or the treaty investor visas and the supporting documents for your dependent family members.
Step 5: Schedule an interview on your profile using your DS-160 number and the receipt for your application payment in step 3. Note that documents need to be emailed to the AIT for prescreening no less than two weeks before the interview date.
Step 6: Email the supporting documents to the IAT two weeks before the interview, as late submission may result in canceling or rescheduling your appointment. Submissions that do not meet the set-out requirements may also result in postponement or cancellation of your interview.
Note that in addition to the electronic submission, you will need to have a physical copy for the consular officers to review during the trader or treaty investor interview.
Step 7: Attend the interview with all the required and supporting documents, including the confirmation page, physical copies of supporting documents, paper photograph, old and current passports of all applicants, and receipt as proof of payment.
Note that the consular officers may request additional information and documentation for visa issuance and what is requested will vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances.
The visa application process can be a daunting one, particularly when there is so much at stake. One mistake could have your application rejected or your interview canceled or postponed.
As such, it is always wise to contact a professional law firm such as the law offices of Michael G. Murray P.A. We may just be able to help you file your visa documentation so that you can focus on developing your business in the United States.
International Trade Visas for Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors
The E visa allows treaty and treaty trader visa applicants to take advantage of a nonimmigrant visa issued due to the existing international exchange of trade items between the United States and its trading partners.
Many western European nations are treaty countries with the United States. This allows for foreign citizens of countries with substantial trade with the U.S. to acquire nonimmigrant trade visas.
These E visas make foreign nationals of the country with an arrangement with the United States eligible for work authorization. This allows them to work and live in the U.S. while working for employers from their own country in a supervisory or executive capacity.
Both the E-2 visa and the E-1 visa require that the individual applicant and their employer in the U.S. meet specific requirements to be eligible.
Note that traders and investors may be granted extensions on their visas for up to two years as long as they are still engaged in the approved employment or commercial activities.
Visa Requirements for Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors
The E-1 visa classification applies to foreign nationals who intend to come to the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa to engage in substantial trade between their country and the United States.
The E-1 treaty trader needs to take into account the following considerations and requirements before they or their family members are allowed into the U.S.:
- They need to be from a country with a qualifying treaty status with the U.S.
- They have to be engaged in substantial trade with the U.S., evidenced by a continuous flow of trade items in addition to numerous transactions in the same period.
- The visa holder must be engaged in principal trade between their country and the U.S. This means that 50% of their country’s total volume of international trade is usually between the treaty trader’s country and the U.S.
- Income from the international trade conducted by the visa holder needs to be enough to support the treaty alien and his family to prove that it is substantial.
- The title to what is exchanged needs to pass from one treaty party to the treaty to another using successfully negotiated contracts that are legal and binding on both parties.
- While there is no minimum requirement on the volume or monetary value of the transaction, the trader has to show numerous exchanges of great value. This can usually be done with trade brochures, bills of lading, sales contracts, customer receipts, letters of credit, and purchase orders.
- The international exchange of trade items between the treaty country and the United States usually includes but is not limited to services and goods, tourism, international banking, newsgathering activities, technology, and its transfer, transportation, and insurance.
The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant E visa for foreign nationals who want to invest substantial capital in an American business. Just like with E-1 E visas, this type of visa has its considerations and requirements that include:
- The investor needs to be from a country with a qualifying treaty party status with the United States.
- The foreign investor must prove that they are looking to enter the U.S. to solely direct and develop the investment enterprise rather than be passive investors. Note that this can be sidestepped by showing that the investor owns at least 50% of the said enterprise.
- The treaty investor’s financial commitment must be shown through their substantial capital investment in a bona fide enterprise in the U.S. It needs to be an active and real business operating commercial or entrepreneurial activities that profitably produce services and goods.
- The foreign national should show that they risk their capital in the commercial operation for the profit objective. These funds need to be capital secured by personal assets or unsecured business capital.
- Even though there is no minimum investment requirement, a low-cost business will usually require a higher proportionality of investment to be deemed substantial. The general rule is that if the investment is $100,000 or less, the investor will have to invest 100% of the capital.
- In the case of an established enterprise, the business needs to be a successful operation or an entrepreneurial undertaking rather than a marginal one. A marginal enterprise is one that doesn’t have a present or future capacity to make more than enough income. The business will need to have the future or present capacity to generate enough income to support the investor and their dependents or at least do so within five years of attaining the E-2 classification.
In addition to all these requirements, investments have to be made in legitimate business operations, and investment funds must not directly or indirectly proceed from any criminal activity.
If you are on the lookout for a naturalization & citizenship lawyer, you should contact the law offices of Michael G. Murray, P.A. We have skilled and experienced lawyers who understand the legal systems and visa processes, and we may just be able to help you.
What You Need to Know About E-1 / E-2 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor
Over the years, the U.S. has signed treaties of navigation, commerce, and friendship with several countries worldwide. These are intended to encourage peace and good relations and promote investment and trade between the U.S. and its partner states.
The U.S. has in recent times entered into several Bilateral Investment Treaties with many former communist states to promote investment. As such, companies or individuals of countries with a treaty with the U.S. can obtain a nonimmigrant visa, usually known as an E-2 visa.
This type of E visa allows them to be in the United States solely to direct and develop their investment. The nonimmigrant visa application usually comes under either the E-1 Treaty Trader or the E-2 Treaty Investor classification.
The E-1 Treaty Trader
These are visas that grant nonimmigrant status to nationals of treaty countries that conduct a substantial amount of trade with the U.S. to qualify for such a visa. Treaty nationals usually have to prove that their trading volume is sufficient to justify their presence in the U.S. to justify the traitor OR his employer being in the U.S.
The E-2 Treaty Investor
These visas are available to foreign nationals whose countries have a treaty agreement with the U.S. This grants them the ability to apply for the treaty investor status. Just like the E-1 visa, one needs to prove that they are running an operating business and make commercial sense for them to be in the United States.
The foreign national with a treaty investor status and their employees can be accompanied by their spouses and unmarried children younger than 21. They don’t need to be of the same nationality as the treaty investor or employee.
E1 Treaty Countries
Some of the countries that have an E-1 treaty status with the U.S. include:
Argentina, China, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Costa Rica, Greece, Korea, Oman, Thailand, Belgium, Denmark, Honduras, Latvia, Pakistan, Togo, Bolivia, Estonia, Iran, Liberia, Philippines, Turkey, Brunei, Ethiopia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain, The UK, Canada, Finland, Israel, Mexico, Suriname, and Yugoslavia.
Nationals of qualifying countries need to show that they or their employees have proven expertise to successfully develop and direct the international trade involved in running the business trading with the United States.
Foreign nationals and their employees may apply for a multiple entry visa for important professional and managerial positions. To increase the odds of their E visas being approved, they need to prove that:
- There will be significant trade volume between the treaty country and the U.S.
- The trader has a history of conducting trade between the treaty country and the U.S.
- There is or will be a substantial dollar value of trade between the treaty country and the United States.
- The trade and their employees are willing and able to leave the United States when their E visa status expires or is terminated.
- The majority of the international trade transactions done by the trader will be or have been between the treaty country and the U.S.
- The trader from the treaty country and his employees have proven business expertise to develop and direct trade and run a commercial operation.
E-2 Treaty Investor
These types of E visas apply to people from the following countries that have a treaty agreement with the United States.
Argentina, China, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Switzerland, Armenia, Colombia, Germany, Latvia, Panama, Thailand, Australia, Congo, Grenada, Liberia, Philippines, Togo, Austria, Costa Rica, Honduras, Luxembourg, Poland, Trinidad and Tobago, Bangladesh, The Czech Republic, Iran, Mexico, Romania, Tunisia, Belarus, Ecuador, Ireland, Morocco, Senegal, Turkey, Belgium, Egypt, Italy, Moldova, the Slovak Republic, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Jamaica, Mongolia, Spain, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Japan, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Cameroon, Finland Kazakhstan, Norway, Suriname, Yugoslavia, Canada, France, Korea, Oman, and Sweden.
Investors from qualifying countries can apply for an E-2 visa interview at the consular offices if they believe their presence is needed or is a major component needed to develop and direct their investment. The investor may also apply for visas for their specialist or managerial employees if they are critical to the management and running of the business.
Obtaining an E visa can be a complicated process for a layperson with no legal knowledge and the processes. As such, we always advise that you secure the services of a citizenship and immigration lawyer whenever you intend to make your visa application.
A lawyer will have a good understanding of the requirements and processes, which will significantly improve the odds of your application getting approved.